George Fisher Baker
George Fisher Baker (March 27, 1840, in
Troy, New York– May 2, 1931) was a U.S. financierand philanthropist. He provided much of the initial funding for Harvard Business School. Beside that, he made several large donations to charitable causes throughout New York Cityand funded the construction of Baker Field, Columbia University's primary athletic facility. He also provided $2 million for Baker Memorial Libraryat Dartmouth College, which has since become one of the school's symbols. A co-founder of the First National Bank of New York in 1863, he became the Bank's President in 1877 and Chairman of the Board in 1909. Mr. Baker's 20,000 shares in the First National Bank were worth twenty million dollars. He was also the largest stockholder in the Central Railroad of New Jersey. He was a director in 22 corporations, which, together with their subsidiaries, had aggregate resources of $7,272,000,000 and he presumably had stock in at least as many corporations.
Baker, born in
Troy, New York, was the son of George Ellis Baker and Eveline Stevens. He married Florence Tucker Baker (daughter of Benjamin Franklin Baker and Sophronia J. Whitney) in 1869, and was the father of:
* Evelyn Baker (1870–1936) m. 1891 Howard Bligh St. George
* Florence Bellows Baker (1876–1936) m. William Goadby Loew
* George Fisher Baker Jr. (1878–1937) m. Edith Brevoort Kane
His son George Fisher Baker, Jr.'s daughter Edith married
John M. Schiffof Kuhn, Loeb & Co.
Top Hat LaBaron Pierce-Arrow
In 1929 George Baker commissioned the construction of a one-of-a-kind
Pierce-Arrowtown car, built by LeBaron, for the wedding of his daughter. The cars uniquely high roof line (5" taller than standard models) was specifically requested by Mr. Baker who wished to wear his top hat while riding. At the time this car was finished, Mr. Baker was one of the 10 richest men in the United States and easily one of the wealthiest individuals in history up to that time.
The vehicle, having been owned by such a prominent figure in American history, has significant historical value. The car was rediscovered in 1978 in a barn in Ohio alongside a Rolls Royce Boat Tail Speedster formerly owned by
Fred Astaire.Fact|date=January 2008
The unique features of the car reflect the affluence of its former owner. Trim lining the rear compartment of the car is made of 24 carat gold, as are the perfume dispensers and intercom.
The car is currently part of the
White Glove Collection, located in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The April 14, 1924, Edition of "
Time Magazine" had this to say about Baker:
The March 26, 1934, "Time" magazine magazine article called Baker Quotation|the richest, most powerful and most taciturn commercial banker in U. S. history [cite news
title="All Paths Unite!"
A 1934 article in "
Newsweek" describes him as one of the most imposing figures in banking history. In the November, 1994 issue of " Worth" magazine, in an interview with James Grant, editor of a financial newsletter, Baker is described as the hidebound turn-of-the-century banker who always got his loans repaid and was one of Grant's heroes.
* [http://www.whiteglovecollection.com/2whiteglovecollection/publish/article_117.shtml George F. Baker's 1929 Pierce Arrow Top Hat LaBaron at White Glove Collection]
* cite news
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